Muslims Hear of Believers' Role in Peace

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II pointed out the duty of believers to promote peace through dialogue as he met with a group that included Muslim leaders.



"Peace be with you!" was the Pope's greeting when he received 30 participants of the ninth annual meeting of the Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee, held on Monday and today in Rome.

Among those present was Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

"Your committee, which facilitates communication between Christians and Muslims, was established during a time of great expectation for world peace," the Pope said in English. "Unfortunately, this hope has not yet been fulfilled."

Yet, "in face of the tragedies which continue to afflict humanity, it is all the more necessary to convince people that peace is possible. Indeed, it is a duty," the Holy Father said, quoting his Message for World Day of Peace 2004.

John Paul II encouraged the liaison committee "and all leaders of religions, to promote a culture of dialogue, mutual understanding and respect."

Established in May 1998, the liaison committee is composed of representatives of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Al-Azhar Permanent Committee for Dialogue with the Monotheist Religions.

Al-Azhar University in Egypt is the most prestigious center of studies and research of the Muslim world.